The Volga River: review on research history and synthesis of current knowledge
Schletterer, Martin; Füreder, Leopold
This article provides a review on the scientific knowledge about the Volga River, including the characteristics of the river basin and an overview of historical and recent limnological research activities. Detailed scientific investigations began about 200 years ago later on that the Volga River was the subject of numerous expeditions and research programmes. The first hydrobiological river research station in Europe was founded in 1900 in Saratov ("Biological Volga Station"), followed by several research institutions which were established along the Volga River during the last century. This coincided with the major hydromorphological changes on the Volga River. Within a considerable stretch of the river the lotic system was altered into a cascade of large reservoirs, while the headwaters remained as an intact free-flowing section. The intention of this review is to provide a comprehensive overview on hydrobiological data on the Volga River, including recent studies. This knowledge covering the whole river system can build an important basis to formulate guidelines and measures for the improvement of water quality and to provide a sound framework for aquatic conservation issues.